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Ben Handley (6)
21 October 2020

Latest COVID-19 Measures – Job Support Scheme Extension and more!

The Chancellor prepares to announce further support measures

"The Chancellor prepares to announce further support measures" by HM Treasury is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Due to the latest announcements on the 31st October regarding the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the new Job Support Scheme mentioned in this blog has been postponed.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Winter Economy Plan on the 24th September. However, giving the ever-changing circumstances facing the country, the support offered to businesses is already being expanded.

To find out more about the initial Winter Economy Plan please visit our article 'The Winter Economy Plan. Explained. What does it mean to you and your clients?'

Job Support Scheme expansion for closed businesses

On the 9th October, the government announced the expansion of the Job Support Scheme to increase the support offered to businesses affected by the regional/local lockdowns. Those businesses legally required to close as a direct result of the coronavirus restrictions will be able to make a claim.

Any business legally required to close their premises, or reduce services to delivery and collection services only, will be eligible. The scheme will allow businesses to claim grants towards the wages of those employees who are instructed to cease work because of the above.

The government will pay two thirds of the employees' salary up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. The grant will not contribute towards employers National Insurance and Pension Contributions, so employers will need to meet those costs.

Employees will need to have been off work for at least seven consecutive days for a business to be eligible to claim the grant.

The scheme is available for six months running from 1st November, with a review point in January. The grant payments will be made in arrears via a claims service that should be available from early December.

Further details can be found on the JSS factsheet .

Job Support Scheme amendments Updated 23/10/20

A further announcement regarding the Job Support Scheme was announced on the 22nd October – reducing the employer's contributions and the required hours worked to be eligible to claim.

The original announcements on the 24th September required employees to be working at least 33% of their normal hours, and required employer's to cover a third of their employees unworked hours.

The new announcement sees employer's contribution to unworked hours drop to 5% and the minimum works hours required drop to 20%.

For example:

The employer pays the worked hours in full:

Usual Weekly Hours

40 @ £10 ph = £400.00

Reduced Worked Hours (20%)

8 @ £10 ph = £80.00

The remaining hours not worked are dealt with as follows:

Hours not worked

32 @ £10ph = £320.00

Government Contribution (61.67%)

19.74 @ £10ph = £197.40

Employer Contribution (5%)

1.6 @ £10ph = £16.00

Lost Hours

10.66 @ £10ph = £106.60

The following conditions apply:

  • Employees must be working at least 20% of their normal working hours.
  • The Government Contribution will be capped at £1,541.75 per month.
  • Employer contributions will be capped up to £125 per month.
  • Employers do not need to have used the Furlough scheme to be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.

For full details on these changes, see the Job Support Scheme Open Factsheet .

Local Restrictions Support Grant changes

The JSS is not the only scheme being expanded, it was also announced that the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme is being amended.

Businesses will now be able to claim up to £3,000 per month instead of the previous limit of £1,500 every three weeks. Those businesses eligible to claim can now also claim after two weeks of closure instead of three weeks.

Tier 2 Grants Updated 23/10/20

In addition to the above grant for businesses required to close due to COVID-19 restrictions, a Tier 2 grant has now been created for those businesses not legally required to close, but which are severely impacted by restrictions on socialising, due to Tier 2 restrictions being imposed on the area.

The grants will be distributed by local authorities and are eligible to businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors.

Grants will be based on rateable values of properties as follows:

  • Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive £934 per month.
  • Properties with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000 will receive £1,400 per month.
  • Properties with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 and over will receive £2,100 per month.

Full details can be found on the Business Grants Factsheet .

Self-employed grant (SEISS) Updated 23/10/20

The self-employed income support scheme grant is also being increased. The grants will now cover 40% instead of 20%.

This increases the maximum grant available from £1,875 to £3,750.

Job Retention Bonus – Further Guidance now released

The Job Retention Bonus scheme was first announced in the Chancellors summer statement on the 8th July, but with little details and information on how to claim. That information has recently been released.

The scheme allows employers to claim £1,000 for every employee furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme that was kept continuously employed until at least 31st January 2021.

The latest guidance released can be found here .

HMRC have also provided an eligibility checker and information about how to claim.

To make a claim, the business must:

  • Still be enrolled for PAYE online
  • Comply with all PAYE obligations to file PAYE on time under Real Time Information for all employees between 6 April and 5 February 2021
  • Keep your payroll up to date and make sure you report the leaving date for any employees that stop working for you before the end of the pay period
  • Use the irregular payment pattern indicator in Real Time Information for any employees not being paid regularly.
  • Comply with all requests from HMRC to provide any employee data for past Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims
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